Friday, August 24, 2012

S is for Silence

S is for Silence
By Sue Grafton

Many of you may know that I have been listening to the ABC mystery series by Grafton. As this takes place in my car, my progress has not been consistent but it is nice to be using that commuting time to do some "reading." I just finished S is for Silence.

I really did not care for this book.

Grafton has had a fairly predictable pattern in the first seventeen novels which she abruptly leaves in this book. Kinsey Millhone, a PI in California in the 1980s, usually follows a very consistent pattern in her detections as well as her personal life. However, Kinsey does not seem like herself as she actually makes friends in this novel -- three of them -- yet does not really have any personal time at all. And what was it with the ending? I never saw that one coming and still can't figure out the motive.

The narrative goes back and forth between Kinsey and what really happened with all the characters in the past -- from each character's point of view. It was almost as if Grafton wanted to write a novel set in the early 1950s and then ended up incorporating it into an alphabet mystery. What I did not care for was that so much happened that the reader knew about that Kinsey never uncovered. And even then there was not enough information to figure out why the crime was committed in the first place.

I think Grafton was either tired of the same old routine or someone said she needed to spice it up. At the same time, I think she has generated so much revenue that folks have backed off on the editing. Surely a good publisher would have made her re-write that ending!

What did this book have to do with my faith? As usual, the church in Grafton's book is only on the periphery. It is where funerals take place or questionable characters are able to eke out a living doing basic work on a church property while living on the premises. The book made me realize once again that the church is often just on the periphery of most people's lives. Does that mean Jesus is also set aside? Is God just a tool for handling grief or desperate needs? Kinsey has so many walls around her and to have God so far from her makes me sad even while I enjoy her adventures.

I don't recommend S is for Silence unless you want to read the entire series.

Happy reading/listening!


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